The FBI Made Me A Communist


Here's the law of unintended consequences in action. A rocket scientist and U.S. Army officer with some level of security clearance assists in building up the American space program. Despite a seemingly exculpatory series of actions—including marrying the daughter of a prominent anti-communist in his native country and an application to become a U.S. citizen—the FBI, working from a Communist Party document that lists him as a member, suspects that he's a red. He fights this charge for four years but is finally deported to his native country, which is now under the control of a murderous communist dictator. There he becomes the father of the country's space program, and lives long enough to see it put a man into space. It's the strange case of Tsien Hsue-shen.

(Easterbrook alert: The article calls the fiendish Dr. Hsue-shen "an enigma.")

Were the charges legit? Was the CP document a plant? Did anti-communist hysteria give the commies an asset the U.S. might have kept? The article mentions a book by Iris Chang. Anybody read it?

NEXT: Reconstruction

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  1. hi Tim,

    does this title have anything to do with the radio show from the fifties with a similar title (“i was a communist for the fbi”)

    an episode was on GN latenight last wednesday. they also do some third man radio, etc. highly worth it if you can get the station, or check it out via the net — midnight Central time on wednesday to thursdays.


  2. does this title have anything to do with the radio show from the fifties with a similar title (“i was a communist for the fbi”)

    I’m familiar with the movie, not with the radio show. It’s one of the crown jewels of Warner Brothers’ commie-fighting glory years, when Jack Warner was going ape trying to establish his anti-communist credentials. As he explained in is biography My First 100 Years In Hollywood, Jack’s enemies were trying to paint him red because during the war his studio had made the shrill, awful, pro-Stalin propaganda piece Mission to Moscow-a rosy, justice-is-done version of the Moscow Show Trials, if you can believe such a thing. A pretty unfair predicament for old Jack: He makes a piece of wartime propaganda at the explicit personal request of the president, then gets clobbered five years later for being unAmerican.

    Jack Warner, no wilting tulip, came back with a strong roster of red-fighting action, including the Duke Wayne HUAC adventure Big Jim McLain. Though for my money, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima is the best of the WB’s golden age anti-communist pictures.


    i’d never heard of “Miracle of our lady” before.


  4. I was familiar with this incident. It is one reason I believe that civil servants should be required to use and to defend judgement. I was just following instructions jobs should pay minimum wage.

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